Take Pity on Goliath

Email Print



it is excellent to have a Giant's strength, but it is tyrannous
to use it like a giant."

~ Shakespeare,
for Measure
, II:2

How does one
simultaneously swagger and simper? Is it possible for someone to
beat his chest even as his lip quivers in self-pity? Apparently
so, given the evidence provided in Charles
Krauthammer's December 3 column

is a conservative of the post-George W. Bush variety — that is,
an unreconstructed totalitarian nationalist. In an essay calling
for the execution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (after a show
trial, if possible, but by extra-judicial means if necessary), Herr
Krauthammer blusters about the majesty of the Imperial State even
as he whines about the besetting dangers it faces and the consummate
injustice that has been done in exposing a handful of its criminal

Exhibit "a"
in the column is the disclosure, by way of WikiLeaks, that Washington
allowed its Yemeni puppet regime to take the blame for a hideous
December 2009 cruise missile massacre of dozens of civilians, including
21 children

"The Yemeni
president and deputy prime minister are quoted as saying that they're
letting the United States bomb al-Qaeda in their country, while
claiming that the bombing is the government's doing," Krauthammer
complains in a Goebbels-worthy misrepresentation of the matter.
"Well, that cover is pretty well blown. And given the unpopularity
of the Sanaa government's tenuous cooperation with us in the war
against al-Qaeda, this will undoubtedly limit our freedom of action
against its Yemeni branch, identified by the CIA as the most urgent
terrorist threat to U.S. security."

Perhaps we
are to believe that the 21 Yemeni children slaughtered via remote
control belonged to an al-Qaeda youth auxiliary. Then again, for
a militarist like Krauthammer the operative principle in dealing
with Muslim children appears to be "nits
make lice

The point here,
I suppose, is that those children are simply invisible to Krauthammer.
Their deaths should play no role in the calculations of imperial
power, and the real scandal is not that they were annihilated but
rather that the crime and attempted cover-up were publicly disclosed.

The course
of boldness and valor for the Regime in Washington, Krauthammer
apparently believes, is to cower behind a tiny, embattled Arab puppet
government that is expected to take the blame when the CIA slaughters

Krauthammer is featured in a
new book
entitled Underdogma:
How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American
. The book is a manifesto of sorts (Unser Kampf,
perhaps?) for the Beltway-controlled "Tea Party Patriots"
group. It was written by Michael Prell, a
neo-con PR whore who has been employed by the likes of Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen

Prell's book
peddles the conceit that "America" — meaning the Regime
in Washington — is the victim of those who resent its power. The
author complains that "some people's natural love for the underdog
has warped into an automatic, blind, irrational hatred for those
who have more power." That "hatred" is supposedly
manifest every time someone complains about the innocent people
killed, maimed, or tortured as a result of State policy, or — in
the case of WikiLeaks — when whistle-blowers expose a handful of
the Empire's crimes.

In his contribution
to the book, Krauthammer condemns Barack Obama's purported desire
to "curtail the power" of the American State. Given that
Obama has escalated the Afghan war, expanded the use of Death Drones,
claims the power to order the summary execution of American citizens
suspected of terrorism, and has dramatically enhanced the domestic
police state, one is led to wonder where he has curtailed government
power in any way.

It's also worth
wondering why Krauthammer wouldn't want to curtail the power of
someone he considers an ideological enemy. But of course, the real
problem for Krauthammer and his ilk isn't the accumulation of dictatorial
power in the presidency, it's that the power currently resides in
the "wrong" hands. As Lenin would put it, the only relevant
question to them is "who does what to whom."

Back in the
1980s, when Krauthammer was George F. Will's understudy in the role
of the conservative punditocracy's pedant-in-chief, he would occasionally
recite from the wisdom of 18th century British statesman Edmund
Burke. In a
1793 address
, Burke expressed the sentiments of an authentic
patriot who understood that loving one's country does not mean celebrating
the unlimited power of the government ruling it.

precautions against ambition, it may not be amiss to take one against
our own," warned Burke. "I must fairly say I dread our
own power and our own ambition. I dread our being too much dreaded…
Sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination
against us which may end in our ruin."

a century and a half later, American patriot Garet
Garrett updated that admonition and applied it to the emerging American
. "Is it security you want?" asked Garrett of
the architects of the national security state and those who supported
that monstrosity. "There is no security at the top of the world."

who celebrates the might of the Imperial State even as he insists
that it faces a dire — nay, existential — threat from a handful
of Yemeni rebels, unwittingly embodies the paradox Garrett described.
To be a pundit in the imperial power structure one must be willing
to play Grover
Dill to the Regime’s Scut Farkus
— that is, to be the vicious
little punk who orbits the neighborhood bully, taunting and threatening
his victims and whining
piteously when someone dares to strike back
. Few have played
that role more convincingly than Charles Krauthammer.

roots for Goliath," observed Wilt Chamberlain, who spoke from
experience. Krauthammer and others who peddle the toxic amalgam
of bullying jingoism and collectivist self-pity — more than a few
of whom profess to be Bible-believing Christians — insist that Goliath
is the virtuous victim.

7, 2010

Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program

Best of William Norman Grigg

Email Print